Anyone who loves fitness knows that protein is an essential part of any healthy meal plan. But it’s not always as easy as we would hope to get the protein intake that our bodies need to recover after intense resistance or endurance training.
At Atlas Nutrition, we love finding ways to make it easier for our clients, and even ourselves, to get the protein we need, while still maintaining a healthy weight. If you’re looking for a fitness trainer in Denver, Greeley, or the greater Northern Colorado region, look to the team at Atlas Nutrition. Our fitness coaches live and breathe health and nutrition, so if you have any questions about how to add more protein to your diet, get in touch today.
First, Why Protein?
Our bodies use protein to build and repair tissue. So if you’re focusing on strength training or building muscle mass, you need protein to help your muscles repair themselves, as well as build more muscle. But you don’t want to just eat any kind of protein — fried foods, sausages or hotdogs, yogurt with a lot of sugar, or deli meats are some of the worst ways to add protein to your diet. Instead, focus on lean proteins, which is around four ounces of meat with less than 10 grams of fat. Look for chicken, fish, beans, and some cuts of beef.
How to Add More Protein to Your Diet
It Starts With Breakfast
Right when you wake up, your body is in a state of fasting. Giving it a boost of protein at breakfast will fuel you through the day. Yogurt is a great option, but opt for Greek yogurt as it’s healthier than most yogurts. You can also add chia seeds for additional crunch, homemade granola, honey, or fresh fruits like blueberries. You can’t go wrong with eggs for breakfast either, which have six grams of protein in each egg. However you like your eggs, try to avoid using a lot of butter, and cook up some fresh vegetables to create a well-rounded meal.
Think About Snacks
Who doesn’t love snacking? The problem may actually be that we love snacking too much — and on foods that would make any fitness trainer have nightmares. Rather than snacking on bowls of sugary cereal, sugar-filled snack bars, or even chips and candy, opt for a cup of mixed nuts, an apple dipped in almond or peanut butter, or a couple ounces of cheese. These snacks provide additional protein and other nutrients, but won’t overload you with sugar or unnecessary fats.
Protein Isn’t Just Beef
It can be easy for people who are inexperienced with fitness and creating meal plans to go straight for a package of beef in the grocery store, or a big hamburger at a restaurant. But there are many other animal proteins that offer a much healthier option. Not only is sticking with one type of protein boring, but it’s not great for your body, either. The next time you’re shopping or browsing a menu, look for grilled chicken, salmon, cod, trout, shrimp, or scallops. Scallops can provide up to 20 grams of protein in just three ounces! And they’re pretty tasty too. Again, just be wary of how these healthy animal proteins are cooked.
Go With a Powder
Fitness trainers love a good protein shake. The trainers at Atlas Nutrition are always recommending shake recipes that make it easy to get the protein you need while on the go. Protein powders can be added to a morning smoothie, a shake after lunch, or even added into a pancake mix. Powders are convenient and easy, but choosing a type of protein powder, however, is another blog post. If you would like a recommendation from our team, don’t hesitate to call!
Make Dinner Fun
Many people overcomplicate dinner, and ultimately end up with a meal that’s boring because they’re afraid of going overboard. There are dozens of fun and great-tasting side dishes that can make your dinner fun and full of protein. Cook up some quinoa in chicken stock, add some chicken, and garnish with basil or oregano. It’s a simple meal but full of flavor. Play with dishes that use beans as well, such as chili, black bean burgers, skillets, tostadas, or even salads.
Adding more protein to your diet doesn’t need to be complicated, but it does need to be done right. When you work with a fitness trainer, you can rely on them for guidance and advice that works for your specific needs and goals.
At Atlas Nutrition, we have locations in Greeley and Wheat Ridge, and our staff there are always willing to help you find a great protein powder or recommend a favorite recipe to make. Achieving your fitness goals can be hard, so don’t do it alone! Sign up for a fitness training program at Atlas Nutrition today.